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Osama Bin Laden - Time Magazine Person of the Year?

By MicroBerto in Media
Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 08:47:48 PM EST
Tags: Round Table (all tags)
Round Table

USA Today has just published this interesting article regarding Time Magazine's upcoming "Person of The Year" selection. It is hard to deny the fact that Osama Bin Laden's recent rise to infamy has given him much more press than anybody else. However, putting this man on the cover of a magazine and labeling him "Person of the Year" would be a public relations nightmare.

Keep in mind that this is not an award, although many claim that it is. Now put yourself in Jim Kelly's shoes. The Time Magazine editor can choose Bin Laden and stick with his integrity to the Person of the Year dubbing. Alternatively, he can dodge the bullet and choose somebody else, such as the New York City firefighters.

The article above mentions a choice of President Bush, which would be a fine decision, except for the fact that he was the Person of the Year in 2000.

Many Time Magazine customers have threatened to cancel their subscriptions if Bin Laden is chosen. Adolph Hitler was chosen in 1938, and although he probably deserved the dubbing, it had a very negative response.

What would you do? Can you think of anybody else from the beginning of 2001 that we're overlooking?


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Is Osama Bin Laden the person of the year?
o Yes 88%
o No 11%

Votes: 61
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o USA Today
o this interesting article
o Also by MicroBerto

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Osama Bin Laden - Time Magazine Person of the Year? | 34 comments (34 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Yes (4.50 / 2) (#1)
by MicroBerto on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:08:05 PM EST

Me? I say yes, he IS the person of the year, like it or not (well, i hope you don't like it). However, if Time is going to do this, they have to put a spin on it -- such as MOST WANTED DEAD person of the year... or whatever those creative people can think of. That'd help them a bit better.

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
Well (3.50 / 4) (#2)
by Zeram on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:11:53 PM EST

He is one of the most widely known and talked about people in the world today. Time needs to have some cahones, and America needs to get over this vague, hazy notion of anything even slightly uncomfortable needs to be ignored.
Like Anime? In the Philly metro area? Welcome to the machine...
Think in the long term, go for it... (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by Electric Angst on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:14:27 PM EST

After all, did Hitler's choice in '38 make any difference to circulation after about five years? I say, think in the long term, and damn the naysayers.
"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster." - Nietzsche
bin Laden is the only possible choice (5.00 / 6) (#4)
by rusty on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:21:34 PM EST

According to Time's definition of Person of the Year -- that is, the person who had the most influence on the world, who made the most news -- bin Laden is the only honest choice. There shouldn't even be a question. If they're going to do this, they damn well should do it properly.

However, it's AOL/TW, so my bet is they fold, and try to weasel it one way or another. If they don't, I'll have a newfound respect for Time. I don't have much fear that that will be necesary though.

Not the real rusty

Doubt it (3.00 / 1) (#9)
by theantix on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:22:26 PM EST

If you look at the previous man of the year winners, they consistantly choose controversial winners: Nixon, Ayatullah Khomeini, Newt Gingrich, Stalin, and of course Hitler. Check out the winners list through 1997... they seem to take special effort to choose someone who really made the news. Not choosing Bin Laden would be a major departure for them

You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]
But... (5.00 / 2) (#12)
by rusty on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 06:37:54 PM EST

...these are different times. If you asked me "Would the editors of Time in 1933 have chosen bin Laden?" my answer would be unequivocally yes. I think it would be as obvious and unavoidable to them as it is to me.

The question, however, is, "Will the lily-livered, government-cowed, AOL/TW corporate slugs of today choose the right man, despite the fact that it will be controversial?" my answer is "Not likely."

I hope to be proven wrong.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Government-cowed? (2.00 / 1) (#18)
by ghjm on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 09:28:10 PM EST

I very much doubt that AOL/TW has the slightest fear of anything the government might do. I mean, what's to worry about? FBI agents showing up at 75 Rockefeller Plaza with a warrant for the arrest of Gerald Levin and Steve Case? Don't we all wish.

Personally I think they're probably just afraid it would hurt revenues. Controversy doesn't seem to sell newspapers today the way it did in 1933. I'm not sure why.


[ Parent ]
AOLTW's nightmare (none / 0) (#28)
by kmself on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 08:21:45 PM EST

Two words: Microsoft and regulation.

AOL's probably one of the more conflicted observers of the Microsoft DoJ case. On the one hand, they'd like to see the company shafted. On the other, AOL realizes that anything that's done to Microsoft may be applied to themselves later. Still, they've probably got a pressing interest in how the case is settled, if only for leverage against Microsoft in various other negotiations.

On the regulatory front, AOL/TW's got some tremendous hurdles of its own regarding regulation. It's not the long arm of the law, but the legislative and executive regulatory environments that it's concerned with. I don't see the company taking acts that will raise controversy among those who would be able to dictate its operating terms.

Karsten M. Self
SCO -- backgrounder on Caldera/SCO vs IBM
Support the EFF!!
There is no K5 cabal.
[ Parent ]

You=Right; Me=Wrong (none / 0) (#33)
by theantix on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 03:59:22 PM EST

I'm a big enough man to admit it!

My faith in journalistic integrity is again knocked down yet another notch. Oh well, at least we have K5!

You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]

By the way (5.00 / 2) (#14)
by rusty on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 06:50:06 PM EST

By my lights, they haven't picked anyone controversial since 1979. Nixon was chosen in 1971 and 1972, both before the impeachment. He wasn't loved universally, but he wasn't hated by everyone either. The 80's and 90's are universally peacemakers, freedom fighters, and sci-techs.

What I'm trying to say is that Time got it's nuts cut off in 1979, and hasn't recovered. They don't have the guts to make what they know to be the only possible choice. I'd lay money on it that the "Man of the Year" will not be ObL by himself. If they pick him at all, it'll be tempered by calling it "Evildoer of the Year" or picking both him and Dubya, or some other nonsense.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

brilliant (4.00 / 1) (#15)
by theantix on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 07:05:54 PM EST

"lay money on it that the "Man of the Year" will not be ObL by himself"

Reading your post I realized exactly what they will do: keep bin Laden, but include either Bush or King Rudy with him on the cover to offset the impact.

By the way, I think "Evildoer of the Year" would make a great yearly issue. lol.

You sir, are worse than Hitler!
[ Parent ]

Evildoer of the Year (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by rusty on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 07:20:51 PM EST

I agree. :-)

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
How about Dubya? (3.00 / 1) (#23)
by Pseudonym on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 07:35:45 AM EST

While Osama bin Laden has been on the map for a while, he's really only taken over the newspapers for the last three months.

Over the course of the year, without a doubt, Dubya has filled it more. Look at what he's done: controversial rise to office, ending the ABM treaty and now this war in Afghanistan. Probably a lot more that I can't think of just at the moment.

Without a doubt, Bush has been in more headlines than bin Laden this year.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
But... (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by rusty on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 01:16:37 PM EST

Dubya is the president of the United States. bin Laden is a guy living in a cave in the most medialess inhabited country in the world. The fact that bin Laden made so much news is a lot more impressive than the fact the Dubya did.

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Man of the Year (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by Pseudonym on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 06:40:16 PM EST

I like the characterisation of a multi-millionairre former construction magnate as "a guy living in a cave". It's somehow fitting. :-)

I still think that Dubya should get the award. I don't like him, personally, but I have to admit he's affected the world a lot more than anyone else this year, with the possible exception of the last three months of it. In particular, ending the ABM treaty, IMO, will have much longer-term consequences than the war in Afghanistan will. Moreover, as much as I don't like him, I have to admit that he'll probably end up a better wartime president than he ever would have been as a peacetime president. (They said of John Quincy Adams that he'd only ever be remembered for his middle name. Before September 11, I would have said the same of Bush, except in his case, it would only be one initial.)

I think the real reason why people are saying "bin Laden" is that, in some sense, they can't remember many significant political things that happened before September 11. I mean no disrespect by this.

Besides, regardless of who does or doesn't deserve it, I stand by my prediction that it will be Dubya. Look at past "men of the year" when there was a change of US presidency: it's almost always the new president who is the following "man of the year".

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Man of the Year in '79? Khomeini (4.00 / 1) (#30)
by mattpfeff on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:57:22 AM EST

Here's how Time magazine concluded its article on Khomeini:

It is, unfortunately, almost surely too late for any such U.S. strategies to influence Ayatullah Khomeini, whose hostility to anything American is bitter, stubborn, zealous--and total. But he may have taught the U.S. a useful--even vital--lesson for the 1980s. He has shown that the challenges to the West are certain to get more and more complex, and that the U.S. will ignore this fact at its peril. He has made it plain that every effort must be made to avoid the rise of other Khomeinis. Even if he should hold power only briefly, the Ayatullah is a figure of historic importance. Not only was 1979 his year; the forces of disintegration that he let loose in one country could threaten many others in the years ahead.

Sounds less like Giuliani and more like that other guy....

[ Parent ]
People are just confused.. (3.25 / 4) (#5)
by DeadBaby on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:27:13 PM EST

I can't believe anyone could equate "man of the year" with "super duper good guy we all love of the year" They're hardly similar at all... in fact the later has many more words. There's no way these people could be THAT illiterate or lack someone they could ask to explain the differences. It's really mind boggling.

"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
I do. (4.50 / 2) (#17)
by Enk on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 09:00:21 PM EST

Therefore I must be an illitrate idiot with no friends.

Like it or not, Time Magazine's "Man of the Year" is probably looked at by most as honor. It could probably be ranked in the same catagory along with various other lifetime acheivement awards or the like.

I'm sure McDonald's dosen't give out the Employee of the Month awards for people who have the biggest impact in the store they work in. If that were the case, the kid who found out that the pickle jar would make a neat urinal would be winning every month.

[ Parent ]

That kid IS winning every month. (NT) (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by rusty on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 01:18:35 PM EST

Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Bin Laden Is the Correct Choice. (4.33 / 3) (#6)
by Captain_Tenille on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 03:34:23 PM EST

The Man of the Year is not the nicest, best person in a given year. It is the most influential person. Thus, besides Hitler, people like the Ayatollah Khomeini have recieved the Man of the Year title. Personally, I thought Adolf Hitler should have been the Man of the Century. You would be hard pressed to find any man who did more to influence the geopolitical sphere from the thirties onward. Of course, that is a similar situation to this, and Time didn't have the backbone to make Hitler the Man of the Century, so I don't have a lot of hope.
/* You are not expected to understand this. */

Man Vs. Nature: The Road to Victory!

Why Hitler should not have been man of the century (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by Kalani on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 06:27:30 PM EST

I think that going by most influential, they made a good choice in Einstein. In fact, I was surprised that they picked an academic like Einstein over a figure like Hitler (or FDR ... thank God people are finally over JFK).

A long time ago, Anne Morrow Lindbergh (Charles Lindbergh's wife) said that the Nazis were riding the "wave of the future." Although she got some heat for it, her argument was that the Germans had the upper hand in technological savvy and Scientific understanding. Unfortunately, that cleverness that many Germans take personal pride in did not belong to the Nazis, nor did it belong to Hitler by any stretch of the imagination.

Hitler's Germany expelled some incredibly brilliant minds (of course, one of whom actually won Time's little contest). The V2 rockets used to terrorize Britain were so new and frightening because they used much more successful propulsion methods than previous generations of rockets, but those weren't even drops in Mrs. Lindbergh's "wave of the future." When Wernher von Braun was captured and asked for details about his V2, he answered, "why don't you ask your own Dr. Goddard?" Indeed it was Goddard who conducted the pioneering research in liquid fuel when the rest of the world was using (essentially) gunpowder.

Cryptography and weapons research are answered by Bletchley Park and Los Alamos. The work done at those places set the stage for so much of what we know today, and that's just when it comes to issues of practicality. It goes without saying that many of the new giants in physics were men who Hitler would have rather seen dead.

So what is the point of all of this? It's that, in the end, Hitler was wrong. He was a power-hungry megalomaniacal fool who led his people to ruin and slaughtered the whipping boys upon whom he projected every last one of his pitiful insecurities. I'm convinced that history will remember him as a horrible barbarian and nothing more.

You said that the award should go to the most influential person of the century, and I would grant that if this century was filled with advancements made only by failures, then his certainly would be the biggest failure of all. Luckily, that's not the case.

The heroes far outshine the villians in the timeline of the 20th century.

"I [think] that ultimately physics will not require a mathematical statement; in the end the machinery will be revealed and the laws will turn out to be simple, like the checker board."
--Richard Feynman
[ Parent ]
don't see why it has to be bin laden. (3.33 / 3) (#7)
by Defect on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:07:53 PM EST

Rudy Giuliani should also be up there in the running. He's been involved with a lot, relating to all aspects of 9/11, the recent airplane crash in queens, and the recovery of new york. He's been in the news constantly for the past year or two, with the new york elections, he's been overseas following 9/11, and he's received honorary knighthood from queen elizabeth for his efforts.

Bin Laden, on the other hand; what has he accomplished? Instilling fear into many people wasn't his doing, it was theoretical fear created by television news stations. People buying gas masks, hypothetical smallpox theories, evacuation plans, all Fox, MSNBC, and CNN. Basically all Bin Laden did was jump up and shout "Hey! What about us?" on september eleventh. Granted, he did this with a dozen or two people taking over two planes, but that's all he accomplished. He spun our heads in the direction of afghanistan and the taliban, and then just up and disappeared.

Bin Laden's a scapegoat for terrorism. He's just a name to most people. A string of foreign words that people can blame their anger and fear on. He's not really a man.
defect - jso - joseth || a link
brownshirt Rudy (4.33 / 3) (#11)
by dr k on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 05:17:02 PM EST

Yes, let's not forget Rudy's attempts to censor the Brooklyn art museum. Or his attempt to thwart the democratic process by taking an "extended term" as mayor.
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]
Yes, lets be onesided (5.00 / 1) (#31)
by Miniluv on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 04:53:23 PM EST

How about all that he did for the city of NY as mayor?

How about Times Square? The subways? The crime problem?

How about quality of life in Harlem or the Bronx?

See how easy it is to be one sided? Rudy Giuliani is a man, like any other. He tried to do his best, I really believe that, as mayor of new york. The art museum incident has been blown out of proportion and turned into an issue that it never should've been far worse than Al Gore's infamous misquotation.

What he did do, that is beyond dispute, is charge into a terrible, devastating situation on Sept. 11 and attempt to save as many lives as effectively as possible. As soon as he had that effort on track he started doing his best to rally the public in support of the people trying to get their jobs done saving lives at ground zero, as well as to continue living their lives to not let this country be permanently damaged by bin Laden's cowardice.

Some things are holy, and the sauna is one of them
[ Parent ]

he does his job (none / 0) (#32)
by dr k on Mon Dec 24, 2001 at 02:17:36 AM EST

"... not let this country be permanently damaged by bin Laden's cowardice."

This country suffers far more from its own ignorance. Flag waving and name calling seem a little silly right now, don't they?
Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

Hitler (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by delmoi on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:18:11 PM EST

Of course, when Hitler was nominated people knew he was a 'bad guy' but they didn't know just how bad he was. In fact I don't even think that the 'final solution' had begun or was even contemplated at the time.
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Why Any of These People? (4.00 / 5) (#10)
by Anoymous 22666 on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 04:38:57 PM EST

Why do we need to choose any of these people? Bin Laden, Guilliani, Bush (hack, ppht).

Let's think: September 11. There is about 3/4 of a year before that. Think of the rest of the year too.

People need to look beyond the WTC bombing. It's like the world has completely changed - it has not. It's just as shitty as it was before. Now, North Americans are personally aware of what goes on in the rest of the world. (But making Americans aware of something other than themselves is quite a feat.)

Now, I'm not trying to say that Bin Laden is not an appropriate choice. He probably is. But Bush? Guilliani? Come on. There are things pre-bombing. At least consider them.

Somewhat of a minor rant, but more of a "think beyond the WTC" that the world seems to have stopped on.

I just farted... And I blame the fiction section. - Psycho Les

Who did you have in mind? (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by KnightStalker on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 11:02:23 PM EST

You were thinking maybe Dmitri Sklyarov? Gary Condit? Michael Jordan went back to playing basketball, let's give it to him. :-)

[ Parent ]
Make your Time (3.00 / 1) (#21)
by Robert Hutchinson on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 12:09:24 AM EST

Let's think: September 11. There is about 3/4 of a year before that. Think of the rest of the year too.
All right, then, I nominate the cast of Zero Wing.

Robert Hutchinson
(Hey, I went a whole year without submitting to this pain.)

No bomb-throwing required.

[ Parent ]
Wrong (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by DarkZero on Sat Dec 22, 2001 at 12:23:56 AM EST

The world, in many ways, HAS changed. Because of Osama bin Laden, the US, Afghanistan, the UK, Russia, Canada, Japan, Turkey, China, Pakistan, and several either countries are either actively fighting in a war or very heavily involved in one. Personally, I think the world's lone superpower, along with a large portion of first and second world countries, being involved in a war, just might qualify as at least a temporary change in the world.

[ Parent ]
USA Today (3.00 / 1) (#13)
by ZanThrax on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 06:48:14 PM EST

I guess the mocking of USA Today has some merit. A magazine article about what another magazine might choose to do soon? That's real journalism, you bet. Heh.

Before flying off the handle over the suggestion that your a cocksucker, be sure that you do not, in fact, have a cock in your mouth.

Stalin and Hitler (3.00 / 1) (#19)
by Tachys on Fri Dec 21, 2001 at 09:31:30 PM EST

Many have commented on how Stalin and Hitler who have been choosen as Man of the Year in the past. But weren't they choosen before they became known as perhaps two of the most evil men in history?

Any game that gets banned by the Austrailian govt can't be all bad... - Armaphine

Update! (4.00 / 2) (#29)
by MicroBerto on Sun Dec 23, 2001 at 11:54:00 AM EST

This year's person of the year is....

Rudy Giuliani?

A quote from said article:

"Though we spent hours debating the pros and cons of naming Osama bin Laden, it ultimately became easy to dismiss him," said managing editor Jim Kelly. "He is not a larger-than-life figure with broad historical sweep ... he is smaller than life, a garden-variety terrorist whose evil plan succeeded beyond his highest hopes."
They certainly dodged their bullet -- and I think that they are absolutely full of shit. I hate Osama more than anything out there, but you can't see he's smaller or garden variety. This dude's got a powerful network (hopefully not for long)..

- GAIM: MicroBerto
Bertoline - My comic strip
Re: George Bush (none / 0) (#34)
by gromgull on Wed Dec 26, 2001 at 07:24:44 AM EST

For having succeeded in having his own war, almost as good, and not by half as just as the Gulf war.

For causing more suffering and being a bigger terrorist than anyone else this year.

For being a downright cock - with a fucked up accent and a brain the size of a peanut.

(sorry lost me will to write seriously)
If I had my way I'd have all of you shot

Osama Bin Laden - Time Magazine Person of the Year? | 34 comments (34 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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